You guys, I'm torn about Jessica Sanchez.
You can easily argue that she won the night with her performance of "Everybody Has a Dream" when the top 10 "American Idol" contestants performed Billy Joel tunes Wednesday. After all, it was virtually flawless from a technical standpoint.
But you can also argue that Jessica is almost too perfect -- and in turn isn't relatable enough to win the competition. Exhibit A: Pia Toscano.
Where do you stand?
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Jessica Sanchez aside, my favorites this week were Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone (although I can easily see Elise ending up in the bottom three again). Then, of course, there was Heejun Han.
Heejun's take on "My Life" resurrected memories of Sanjaya Land. It wasn't a vocal trainwreck, but its humorous tone was enough to prompt Steven Tyler to tell Heejun to take the competition more seriously.
Here are my rankings. Share yours in the comments section.
1. Elise Testone, "Vienna"
2. Jessica Sanchez, "Everybody Has a Dream"
3. Phillip Phillips, "Movin' Out"
4. Erika Van Pelt, "New York State of Mind"
5. Joshua Ledet, "She's Got a Way"
6. Skylar Laine, "Shameless"
7. Colton Dixon, "Piano Man"
8. Heejun Han, "My Life"
9. Hollie Cavanagh, "Honesty"
10. Deandre Brackensick, "Only the Good Die Young"
Diddy mentored the contestants this week, while Tommy Hilfiger offered style advice. While some contestants ignored the fashion tips, Hilfiger's influence resulted in an extreme makeover for Erika Van Pelt. Here's a full recap of Wednesday's show.
Deandre Brackensick, "Only the Good Die Young": Hey, I'm glad Deandre stayed away from ballads tonight. This performance starts off good enough, but it quickly enters the average zone. There's just nothing too amazing about it. He doesn't do enough to add his own musical vibe to the tune. Pair an average performance with the dreaded first-singer spot and Deandre could be in trouble this week.
Steven: Initially thought it was too happy, but hey...that's what the world needs right now.
Jennifer: "I thought it was a good way to start the show."
Randy: "I wasn't jumping up and down because it didn't show me anything special...It was OK."
Erika Van Pelt, "New York State of Mind": Woo hoo! Erika got a makeover! She now has short black hair. OK, it's not entirely my favorite look...but it's definitely a step up. This is a good, solid performance...but as usual, I wonder if it's contemporary enough for the "Idol" audience. Technically, there are no major flaws. My biggest criticism? I want more emotion from Erika tonight.
Randy: "I love the look...I love that and I love the vocals...Very, very nice."
Jennifer: "It was such a beautiful vocal." Wants her to "let loose" more.
Joshua Ledet, "She's Got a Way": Joshua starts off sitting down and holds back at the beginning of the song. However, the end of the tune gets full gospel treatment -- complete with a choir. I'm a little divided. While it's not as strong as last week's performance, Joshua is still a good singer. However, I think he over-sang a lot of this song. He could have held back a bit and been more memorable. Not bad, but not necessarily amazing.
Jennifer: "I felt like you were singing it, but you weren't SINGING it."
Steven: "You sang your life into it and you made a song that I didn't know come to life."
Randy: "Never, ever feel defeated. You are always ahead."
Skylar Laine, "Shameless": The beginning of this song is a little rough. Skylar struggles with the verses...she remembers the lyrics, but the key is a little off. She picks things up toward the middle and delivers a strong finish. Maybe it's the arrangement, but Skylar seems a little less confident than usual this week. Even though I wanted more of a "Moment," Skylar should easily stick around.
Randy: "By the time you hit the middle of the song, you kind of got in your comfort zone."
Jennifer: Liked it overall
Steven: "Maybe a little pitchy, but you still breathe life into a song."
Elise Testone, "Vienna": Awesome, awesome, awesome performance. Elise delivers some great gritty vocals and really memorable power notes. It's the most emotion and personality we've seen from a contestant so far tonight. She's really in her "zone." I'm usually a little lukewarm on Elise, but tonight I'm really impressed. Finally, it seems like we're watching an actual competition.
Steven: "Great singing, a lot of heart to it...You were beautiful."
Jennifer: "It was just such a beautiful thing."
Randy: "She is unbelievably talented...She had a Moment tonight."
Phillip Phillips, "Movin' Out": Tommy Hilfiger tells the Leesburg, Ga., singer to not wear gray. Jimmy and Diddy tell Phillip to not play his guitar. He ignores both pieces of advice. I think it's a wise move, since Phillip delivers an incredibly strong performance. Very gritty and packed with emotion. I'm impressed and I give him props for ignoring everybody's advice. Phillip seems like one of the few contestants with personality this season.
Jennifer: "You are who you are...It was an awesome performance."
Steven: "You did a really good job with that."
Randy: "You are an unbelievably talented artist...Stick to your guns."
Hollie Cavanagh, "Honesty": Hollie flaunts some serious sparkles tonight. Remember, folks: Glitter is a privilege, not a right. Anyway, this performance is just OK. Hollie needs to leave Ballad Land ASAP. She's getting really boring really quickly. That's saying a lot...I'm even a Hollie fan. From a technical standpoint, Hollie is great. But this is just the wrong song. It doesn't do her any favors.
Steven: "Tonight you were a little pitchy...it was good."
Jennifer: Says she has to nail the big notes every single time
Randy: "You've just gotta let go...Come on now, you're better than that."
Heejun Han, "My Life": When Heejun starts his tune, a piano is playing. Seconds into the song, he tells the piano player to stop. "I wanna dance!" he says, ripping off his suit jacket. (Don't worry...he's not shirtless.) With that, we get a wacky performance that consists of Heejun mingling with the audience and running around the stage. A small part of me likes it, since Heejun is actually having fun and showing personality. Another part of me wonders if Heejun will become this season's Sanjaya.
Jennifer: "I love that you brought a little bit of fun to tonight...I really enjoyed it."
Steven: "At some point you've got to try to take it more serious."
Randy: "At least you had a good time...Vocally, it was definitely missing a little bit."
Jessica Sanchez, "Everybody Has a Dream": Once again, Jessica delivers an impressive performance of a big song. I agree with the fans who say she often sounds like Jennifer Hudson. She gets gospel choir treatment like Joshua. You can easily argue Jessica delivered the best performance of the night. She flawlessly hits lots and lots of big notes. Am I convinced she'll win the competition? No. The judges give her a standing ovation.
Steven: "Thank you for letting me hear you sing."
Jennifer: "That was a defining moment for you."
Randy: "You have a moment every time you step on that stage."
Colton Dixon, "Piano Man": Naturally, Colton plays the piano for this tune. Given his last-singer spot, he's clearly supposed to have a Moment tonight. Sorry, folks, I'm just not that impressed. He sounds a little whiny as usual and I can't help feeling like he's inserting a little too much punk rock into the tune. Overall, it's just sort of average. Not necessarily the best way to end the night.
Jennifer: "You sing with pure feeling."
Steven: "You're a great musician and a great singer."
Randy: "You definitely are a rock star."